One friend visited the park with her dad and was in peals of laughter over the stack of footballs, (Endless Column by Hank Willis Thomas), other families had picnics beneath towering sculptures or took selfies in the mirror of Alicja Kwade’s Big Be-Hide. Jogging, cycling or simply walking back to work, Frieze Sculpture Park rewarded repeated viewings – surrounded by flowers during the summer months and crunchy autumn leaves for this final Frieze weekend.
Frieze Sculpture 2017
Cycling into town, I always make time for a quick detour through Frieze Sculpture in Regent's Park, which this year has been open throughout the summer for the first time. Everyone has an opinion about the bold and dramatic sculptures that have arrived in the park – curator Clare Lilley is never shy when it comes to her picks.
Jogging, cycling or simply walking back to work, Frieze Sculpture Park rewarded repeated viewings – surrounded by flowers during the summer months and crunchy autumn leaves for this final Frieze weekend.
This corner of Regent's Park is home to the English or Avenue Gardens, featuring outsized Victorian-inspired planting and designs – flowers are bold and clashing, fountains are tiered and exuberant and hedges are clipped into complicated designs. It’s a challenging environment for most artwork but monumental pieces can hold their own here – muscular bronzes from Eduardo Paolozzi, Antony Caro and Bernar Venet – look handsome alongside avenues of trees.
Everyday objects become something extraordinary in this setting – Michael Craig-Martin’s red wheelbarrow, popping out of the verdant landscape, John Chamberlain’s sparkly pink knot – a weighty metal sculpture which still manages to feel bright and breezy and finally KAWS' tiny cartoon figure of a mouse, carved out of a 7-metre piece of Afromasia wood, creeping menacingly across the lawn…
Miquel Barceló works with tactile materials such as plaster and ceramic and you can literally feel his arm sweeping across the surface of his Gran Elefandret – seen here performing an impossible balancing act on his trunk, as his legs swing out to the side for balance. Equally implausible is the 8-tonne black snowman, carved from one block of stone by Swiss artist Peter Regli. This sculpture belongs to a series of work called Reality Hacking – where the artist has created a series of snowman who pop up in the most unlikely situations, melting in Madison Gardens in New York and perched on the Southern-most point of the African continent.
Miquel Barceló works with tactile materials such as plaster and ceramic and you can literally feel his arm sweeping across the surface of his Gran Elefandret – seen here performing an impossible balancing act on his trunk, as his legs swing out to the side for balance.
Thrown into this somewhat surreal and whimsical mix is Alicja Kwade’s Big Be-Hide – a formal composition comprised of a square frame held between two rocks, one of which is an exact aluminum facsimile of the other rock. Suspended in-between is a two-sided mirror, which only adds to this illusion, and makes the far rock suddenly appear and disappear behind the original rock.
Echoing the dappled light and shade throughout the English Gardens is the wonderfully expressive geometric sculpture by Rasheed Araeen Summertime - The Regents Park which was made specifically for this setting. This rainbow-coloured sculpture contains a complicated grid pattern, which references Islamic art and architecture, as well as more pared back work by Antony Caro and Sol Le Witt. Best of all it casts a constantly changing pattern of geometric shadows onto the grass, like an abstract painting.
The award for favourite picnic spot goes jointly to Ugo Rondinone’s summer moon and Miquel Barceló Gran Elefandret – something about these epic shapes, allowing for an equal flight of fancy from the viewer. Whilst being busy in London is the ultimate badge of honour, Frieze Sculpture is to be applauded for persuading so many of us to stop – to take in a whimsical sculpture, to look at the leaves changing or simply to stare at the clouds – and to examine what surrounds us a little more closely.
Frieze Sculpture is on until October 8
By Chloe Grimshaw